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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Mark Buehrle fires back at Miami Marlins: “I was lied to”

Welcome to BuehrleCon 2012!

While one of Jose Reyes’ representatives expressed disappointment this week with the Marlins for going back on their word, Buehrle and agent Jeff Barry issued a joint statement Wednesday expressing their view on the matter.

“I’m upset with how things turned out in Miami,” Buehrle said. “Just like the fans in South Florida, I was lied to on multiple occasions. But I’m putting it behind me and looking forward to moving on with my career.”

Marlins baseball czar Larry Beinfest, asked directly on a Monday conference call about reports of “verbal assurances” given to Reyes and Buehrle, said those didn’t come from him and were nothing he was privvy to.

If any such assurances had been made by him, Beinfest said, he would have put them in writing.

“In an off-season of change and uncertainty, the overriding factor in Mark’s signing with Miami was Ozzie Guillen and the level of comfort his presence provided Mark and his family,” Barry said in his statement. “While the Marlins were the highest bidder, baseball had already made Mark a wealthy man, so money was far from the most important factor in his decision.

“Throughout the recruiting process, the Marlins made repeated assurances about their long-term commitment to Mark and his family and their long-term commitment to building a winning tradition of Marlins baseball in the new stadium. This was demonstrated by their already completed signings of Ozzie, Heath Bell and Jose Reyes.

“At the same time, given the Marlins’ history, we were all certainly aware of and voiced concern about the lack of no-trade protection. This is unquestionably a business, and signing with the Marlins was a calculated risk. Mark held up his end of the bargain; unfortunately, the same can’t be said of the Marlins.”

Repoz Posted: November 21, 2012 at 02:57 PM | 209 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: November 21, 2012 at 03:12 PM (#4307591)
"I can't help it -- it's my nature," said the scorpion.
   2. Nasty Nate Posted: November 21, 2012 at 03:12 PM (#4307592)
At the same time, given the Marlins’ history, we were all certainly aware of and voiced concern about the lack of no-trade protection. This is unquestionably a business, and signing with the Marlins was a calculated risk. Mark held up his end of the bargain; unfortunately, the same can’t be said of the Marlins.


Those last 2 thoughts seem odd juxtaposed together.

If you are aware that the Marlins specifically retained their ability to trade you/your client, than having them exercise that right cannot be described as not keeping up their end of the bargain.
   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 21, 2012 at 03:18 PM (#4307595)
Mr. Burns, I think we can trust the President of the Marlins.
   4. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 21, 2012 at 03:29 PM (#4307610)
If you are aware that the Marlins specifically retained their ability to trade you/your client, than having them exercise that right cannot be described as not keeping up their end of the bargain.
Eh, the moral world is bigger than contracts. I'm not exactly weeping for Mark Buehrle, but I think what he's described from the Marlins pretty clearly equates to dishonorable behavior.

Lying to get what you want, even if you are lying to get money, is generally wrong.
   5. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: November 21, 2012 at 03:33 PM (#4307615)
Eh, the moral world is bigger than contracts. I'm not exactly weeping for Mark Buehrle, but I think what he's described from the Marlins pretty clearly equates to dishonorable behavior.


This is true but at the same time there's a "fool me once..." thing at work here. I mean this wasn't exactly a surprising result here.

Beyond that I imagine I can think of any number of ways where Buehrle would have heard "we won't trade you" while the Marlins never said it. "Mark, we aren't giving you this contract to trade you", "Mark, you're a key part of the Marlins' plan." "Mark, we look forward to you ending your career in Miami." People hear what they want to hear.
   6. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 21, 2012 at 03:36 PM (#4307618)
This is true but at the same time there's a "fool me once..." thing at work here. I mean this wasn't exactly a surprising result here.
Yes, of course.

But the moral world is also not zero-sum. The fact that he should have known better doesn't absolve the Marlins of dishonorable behavior. It just means he should have known better. The two issues are mostly independent.

The thing about scorpions is, they're invertebrates. Humans are generally held to higher standards.
Beyond that I imagine I can think of any number of ways where Buehrle would have heard "we won't trade you" while the Marlins never said it. "Mark, we aren't giving you this contract to trade you", "Mark, you're a key part of the Marlins' plan." "Mark, we look forward to you ending your career in Miami." People hear what they want to hear.
if I'm following, your semi-defense of the Marlins is that they might have only sought to imply false things to Buehrle without ever technically lying. (1) I doubt it, David Samson isn't close to that smart, and (2) that's still wrong!
   7. RJ in TO Posted: November 21, 2012 at 03:37 PM (#4307619)
This is true but at the same time there's a "fool me once..." thing at work here. I mean this wasn't exactly a surprising result here.

This is the most obvious point. The Marlins have a grand tradition (both under Loria and before) of dumping players they just signed/traded for. I'm sure Carlos Delgado wasn't expecting to spend the bulk of his contract with the Mets, rather than the Marlins, given that he turned down the Mets as a FA, and yet that's what happened.
   8. Nasty Nate Posted: November 21, 2012 at 03:38 PM (#4307623)
Eh, the moral world is bigger than contracts. I'm not exactly weeping for Mark Buehrle, but I think what he's described from the Marlins pretty clearly equates to dishonorable behavior.

Lying to get what you want, even if you are lying to get money, is generally wrong.


I agree - if they were lied to their faces (seems likely), it is fine to call out the lying liars. The fact that the Marlins can legally and contractually do this doesn't make it right or acceptable.

But I still don't like the complaining of the breaking of the supposed verbal no-trade clauses. Agents would never agree to some deal where part of the actual salary was only verbally committed to and not explicitly part of the contract, so why are they seemingly putting stock in other compensation which was only verbally committed to? If your negotiation doesn't result in an actual NTC or at least a poison pill or an escalator, you shouldn't pretend that it did.
   9. RJ in TO Posted: November 21, 2012 at 03:38 PM (#4307624)
The fact that he should have known better doesn't absolve the Marlins of dishonorable behavior.

I don't think anyone is absolving the Marlins of dishonorable behavior. Everyone is instead saying "yeah, if that's what they told him, it's dishonorable. But it's the Marlins. Why wouldn't you expect them to do something like this?"
   10. Gazizza, my Dilznoofuses! Posted: November 21, 2012 at 03:39 PM (#4307625)
"You f***ed up... you trusted us!"
   11. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: November 21, 2012 at 03:45 PM (#4307629)
Boo-#######-hoo.
   12. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 21, 2012 at 03:45 PM (#4307630)
Everyone is instead saying "yeah, if that's what they told him, it's dishonorable. But it's the Marlins. Why wouldn't you expect them to do something like this?"
The "but" there is precisely my issue. It pretends to be adversative, but as you point out yourself, it actually isn't.

"They acted dishonorably. He should have known better." The fact that he should have known better doesn't affect the judgment as to whether they acted dishonorably, but even you are writing as if it did.
   13. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: November 21, 2012 at 03:51 PM (#4307634)
Eh, the moral world is bigger than contracts.

That's actually not true. The law requires that Buehrle's contract be in writing (an employment contract of over a year) to be enforceable by either party. Number two, the contract almost certainly contains an "integration clause," wherein both parties agree that the only enforceable promises are those contained in the contract.

If there was fraud in the inducement to enter the contract, that's can be actionable, even in the face of an integration clause, but of course that didn't happen here.

Moreover, the alleged oral promise is quite often reduced to writing when it actually exists -- the standard no-trade clause.

So the reality is that the applicable "moral code" has been entirely encapsulated in the law of contracts.
   14. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: November 21, 2012 at 03:54 PM (#4307640)
if I'm following, your semi-defense of the Marlins is that they might have only sought to imply false things to Buehrle without ever technically lying...2) that's still wrong!


I don't think it's that cut and dried, everyone spins things to put themselves in the best light. Go to match.com or other places if you need to see examples of that in action.

Obviously if they flat out lied to him that's a different issue but I have no expectation that the Marlins are going to lay out a 100% accurate description of things anymore than I would expect Buehrle's agent to note that pitchers in their 30s often decline dramatically.
   15. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 21, 2012 at 04:00 PM (#4307645)
So the reality is that the applicable "moral code" has been entirely encapsulated in the law of contracts.
So, your argument is that no moral judgment can be made of actions which falls inside legal bounds? Just so we're clear. That's incredibly stupid.
I don't think it's that cut and dried, everyone spins things to put themselves in the best light. Go to match.com or other places if you need to see examples of that in action.
Buehrle is talking about "repeated assurances". That's way beyond posting a picture where the angle obscures some added weight.
   16. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: November 21, 2012 at 04:06 PM (#4307650)
So, your argument is that no moral judgment can be made of actions which falls inside legal bounds? Just so we're clear. That's incredibly stupid.

No, only as to contracts the law requires to be in writing to be enforceable. Adults get "promises" in writing -- particularly when they're standard parts of negotiations, like no-trade contracts -- and if they aren't in writing they don't consider them enforceable. That's what children do.

In lieu of being an adult and getting the no-trade in writing, Buehrle took the extra money.(*) His complaints at this point are juvenile, and quite likely false.

(*) Albert Pujols liked the Marlins' money, too, but wanted a no-trade. When they said no, he said no.
   17. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 21, 2012 at 04:17 PM (#4307661)
So the reality is that the applicable "moral code" has been entirely encapsulated in the law of contracts.


No. This is stupid lawyer thinking.
   18. Kiko Sakata Posted: November 21, 2012 at 04:21 PM (#4307668)
No, only as to contracts the law requires to be in writing to be enforceable. Adults get "promises" in writing -- particularly when they're standard parts of negotiations, like no-trade contracts -- and if they aren't in writing they don't consider them enforceable. That's what children do.


You're not answering Matt's question. Matt is talking about the "moral world". You're answering with reference to the "legal world". These are two different things. Something can be moral but illegal. Something can be legal but immoral.
   19. Swedish Chef Posted: November 21, 2012 at 04:22 PM (#4307669)
I don't see the problem, he'll get every cent he's owed and now as a bonus he doesn't even have to play on the Marlins! A clear win-win situation.
   20. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 21, 2012 at 04:23 PM (#4307671)
I don't see the problem, he'll get every cent he's owed and now as a bonus he doesn't even have to play on the Marlins! A clear win-win situation.
And to be clear, I think Mark Buehrle is doing great. He's incredibly talented, highly paid, and as the Chef notes, he doesn't have to work for David Samson anymore. Plus he works quickly and throws strikes.
   21. Kiko Sakata Posted: November 21, 2012 at 04:24 PM (#4307673)
I don't see the problem, he'll get every cent he's owed


I don't feel all that sorry for Mark Buehrle. As he admits here, he knew this was a possibility. But Florida has no state income tax, while I believe Canada has higher taxes than the U.S. So he actually probably does come out of this a little bit poorer (with poorer, of course, being a relative term; Mark Buerhle is still going to be a very, very rich man).
   22. JJ1986 Posted: November 21, 2012 at 04:27 PM (#4307681)
He also can't take his dog to Toronto.
   23. phredbird Posted: November 21, 2012 at 04:30 PM (#4307684)
larry beinfest is just carrying the evil one's water, right? i'm sure he's getting boatloads of money to do that, but if i was him i'd probably feel like i need to take a shower every time i walk out of loria's office. or is he in the same order of sleazy as loria? i don't know what's going on in marlin-land.

as for buehrle, ya he got treated kinda crummy, but it's not like he's getting cut and not getting a dime, like what can happen to other athletes.
   24. Ron J2 Posted: November 21, 2012 at 04:42 PM (#4307696)
I believe Canada has higher taxes than the U.S


Taxes are in fact higher in Canada, but (as Paul Beeston was always at pains to point out to any free agent the Jays were negotiating with) there's a reciprocal agreement between the US and Canada. He won't pay Canadian rates, he'll pay based on his US residency.
   25. Rusty Priske Posted: November 21, 2012 at 04:46 PM (#4307700)
The good news is, he no longer has to work for such a crappy organization.

The bad news is, he no longer has any say in where he works.


Luckily, Canada is awesome.
   26. Nasty Nate Posted: November 21, 2012 at 04:47 PM (#4307702)
Marlins: I assure you that your client will be paid $54 million.
Agent: Great, let's put it in writing.
Marlins: Done. Also, I assure you that we will not trade your client.
Agent: Great, let's also put that in writing.
Marlins: No
Agent: Good enough for me!

----

The bad news is, he no longer has any say in where he works.


He no longer had that say when he signed the contract.

And if they still have the rule that a player traded during the middle of a multi-year contract can force a trade after one year, he actually has more of a say in where he works than he did before the Fish traded him.
   27. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: November 21, 2012 at 04:48 PM (#4307703)
larry beinfest is just carrying the evil one's water, right?


I know that's just a figure of speech but the dry, desiccated husk of Bud Selig is indeed evil to his blackened core.
   28. RJ in TO Posted: November 21, 2012 at 04:53 PM (#4307706)
And if they still have the rule that a player traded during the middle of a multi-year contract can force a trade after one year, he actually has more of a say in where he works than he did before the Fish traded him.

They no longer have that rule.
   29. Dag is a salt water fish in fresh water world Posted: November 21, 2012 at 05:09 PM (#4307717)
He also can't take his dog to Toronto.


Isn't it a province-wide ban on pit bulls?
   30. RJ in TO Posted: November 21, 2012 at 05:10 PM (#4307718)
Isn't it a province-wide ban on pit bulls?

Yes.
   31. The District Attorney Posted: November 21, 2012 at 05:53 PM (#4307728)
Isn't it a province-wide ban on pit bulls?
No, it's a specific ban on Mark Buehrle's dog. Weird that it ever had to be invoked, really.
   32. Nasty Nate Posted: November 21, 2012 at 05:56 PM (#4307730)
Isn't it a province-wide ban on pit bulls?


No, it's a specific ban on Mark Buehrle's dog. Weird that it ever had to be invoked, really.


Maybe the Premier should give Buehrle verbal assurances that the ban won't be enforced...
   33. dr. scott Posted: November 21, 2012 at 06:13 PM (#4307735)
I don't think it's that cut and dried, everyone spins things to put themselves in the best light. Go to match.com or other places if you need to see examples of that in action.


I think its interesting that this has become a very grey area. I think there are still many people who think that spinning, as ubiquitous as it is, is wrong. It is essential to do this when running a business, a country, a political party, or a baseball team, but no one likes it when its done to them. However, when done to someone else, most people's first reaction is "they should have known better". Its as if misleading is so common that trusting anyone is considered at best naive, yet trust is essential for a properly functioning society. there seems to be some serious issues here.
   34. mathesond Posted: November 21, 2012 at 06:22 PM (#4307739)
Maybe the Premier should give Buehrle verbal assurances that the ban won't be enforced...


What Premier?

Just think, if McGuinty hadn't resigned and prorogued Queen's Park, the ban may have been lifted by now (and not because of the trade)
   35. WahooSam Posted: November 21, 2012 at 06:26 PM (#4307742)
Maybe the Premier should give Buehrle verbal assurances that the ban won't be enforced


Can't happen. Our premier quit and moved back in with his Mommy. We are currently sans premier
   36. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: November 21, 2012 at 06:31 PM (#4307743)
As we should have learned from the Roger Clemens-Toronto situation, all Major League contracts are explicitly required to be spelled out and contained within the confines of the written contract, no sly wink-wink, nudge-nudge understandings. I don't see Buehrle having any moral objection here - special, under-the-table compensation for certain players undermines baseball's CBA. That's why perks like A-Rod getting dibs on four season-ticket packages and Ichiro getting 4 round-trip tickets between Seattle and Japan are spelled out in contracts.
   37. John Northey Posted: November 21, 2012 at 06:34 PM (#4307744)
I think part of the frustration is via the mass exit from contention the Marlins did this winter. A year ago they said the new park would ensure that the team would be able to afford top players and the like. The team played poorly, but attendance spiked up anyways. Rather than trying to fix what was wrong, the Marlins dumped their manager, and traded everyone making over $2 million with just one exception (plus brought in 2 guys from Toronto making over $2 but under $6 million).

While this did happen in the 1997-1998 and 2005-2006 offseasons both times the Marlins had the excuse of a poor stadium lease. Now they have a shiny new one just built and kaboom they destroy the team right away. I can understand how the players thought that this time could be different. In truth, anyone traded away from Miami now should be happy as it would not be a fun place to play in 2013 unless a miracle happens and the team gets off to a strong start.
   38. Dag is a salt water fish in fresh water world Posted: November 21, 2012 at 06:44 PM (#4307748)
#31 cracked me up.
   39. shoewizard Posted: November 21, 2012 at 07:01 PM (#4307755)
“In an off-season of change and uncertainty, the overriding factor in Mark’s signing with Miami was Ozzie Guillen and the level of comfort his presence provided Mark and his family,” Barry said in his statement.


Yeah, looking to Ozzie as the bastion of calm continuity....what could go wrong ?

“While the Marlins were the highest bidder, baseball had already made Mark a wealthy man, so money was far from the most important factor in his decision.


Horse sheet.

He already made 90 million in your career, Florida signed him to a deal that is going to pay him another 48 million while he will most likely be far less productive than he has been in the past.

I understand he is a human being, and change, moving, etc, is stressful no matter who you are or how much you make. But how much you make is VERY MUCH the point here. He is paid sufficiently that he should be suppressing his whining over being "lied" to....especially in lieu of a contractual commitment.

He should have demanded the no trade clause in the negotiations, and if it was really that important to him, he should have moved onward to another team. But he chose to take the most money without the guarantee he wouldn't be moved. HIS CHOICE.

I am seldom one of those guys to criticize the whining ballplayer. I really am sensitive to the fact that they have the same feelings and emotions we do. But he is paid enough to overcome those things. In this economy and environment with so many people suffering, it really shows a disconnect with the reality for the vast majority of people on this planet.

   40. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 21, 2012 at 07:09 PM (#4307758)
Eh, the moral world is bigger than contracts. I'm not exactly weeping for Mark Buehrle, but I think what he's described from the Marlins pretty clearly equates to dishonorable behavior.

Lying to get what you want, even if you are lying to get money, is generally wrong.


Come on. Buerhle is not exactly a simpleton. And was represented by an agent. He was free to negotiate at any time a no-trade clause. He didn't, most likely because it would have cost him money.

The Marlins did nothing wrong, either morally or otherwise, and even if one thinks that they did, one would have to have been a fool to look at their history and the ballpark situation and not have seen it coming.
   41. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 21, 2012 at 07:22 PM (#4307761)
"They acted dishonorably. He should have known better." The fact that he should have known better doesn't affect the judgment as to whether they acted dishonorably, but even you are writing as if it did.


No, the dishonorable thing is to try to claim that someone did something wrong because they didn't hold to "promises" that weren't part of the contract. The Marlins did not breach the contract, so Buerhle's whining is out of bounds. And these contracts are such that every little thing actually promised is written down, such as luxury boxes and the like; no-trade clauses are obviously quite standard, and side deals are specifically disallowed.


   42. Lassus Posted: November 21, 2012 at 07:23 PM (#4307763)
As a dog owner, I definitely feel sympathy for Mark because of the dog thing. That blows.

Also, he doesn't have to be all sad and crap to feel like he was lied to. It's generally irritating to be lied to.
   43. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 21, 2012 at 07:36 PM (#4307770)
No, the dishonorable thing is to try to claim that someone did something wrong because they didn't hold to "promises" that weren't part of the contract.
Sometimes I wonder if going to law school chips away at the parts of your brain that make you human, or if law school simply selects for people who lack those capacities in the first place.
   44. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 21, 2012 at 07:57 PM (#4307775)
Matt, "Sure, we'd love to have you hear long term! We want to make a long-term commitment to you! So here's 4 years and 60 million dollars!" is not dishonorable. Players know they can be traded at any time without no-trade protection. And what if the Marlins, seeing their losing season, simply changed their mind and changed direction? How long are they to be held to a non-clause of the contract?

Also, it seems from this that Buehrle and his agent specifically considered this issue in advance - as they must have - and made a calculated risk to accept the deal:

“At the same time, given the Marlins’ history, we were all certainly aware of and voiced concern about the lack of no-trade protection. This is unquestionably a business, and signing with the Marlins was a calculated risk. Mark held up his end of the bargain; unfortunately, the same can’t be said of the Marlins.”

No. The Marlins did hold up their end. And what kind of morons - there is no other word for it - come away from this conversation thinking that there is a commitment to the player such that he won't be traded:

"We want Mark to sign with us long term."
"Okay, and Mark wants no-trade protection."
"Well, we do want Mark long term, but we're not willing to give no-trade protection."
"Cool, that means Mark can never be traded! We accept!"

   45. vivaelpujols Posted: November 21, 2012 at 08:03 PM (#4307777)
I really don't think there's any moral issue here. Like Ray said in 44, the Marlins explicitly stated their preferences by not offering a no trade clause. He had to know that they would at least consider trading him at one point. Once the Marlins won 69 games last year, he had to know that there was a possibility that he would be traded.

Also this is completely one sided. If Buehrle had gotten injured or sucked, no one would be saying that he wronged the Marlins. It's a little different because the Marlins have choice here, but they also didn't choose to win 69 games last year. I don't think that if they had own 90 games they would have made this trade.

Finally, IMIO, for morality to be invoked someone actually needs to have gotten hurt. Buehrle getting paid 30 million the next two years and going to a team that has a better shot of contending does not qualify as getting hurt to me.
   46. Darren Posted: November 21, 2012 at 08:09 PM (#4307781)
"We want Mark to sign with us long term."
"Okay, and Mark wants no-trade protection."
"Well, we do want Mark long term, but we're not willing to give no-trade protection."
"Cool, that means Mark can never be traded! We accept!"


Just so we're clear, this conversation only happened in your head, right? For all we know, it was, "Yeah, we can't give you a no trade, that's a company policy thing because of such and such. But don't worry, we're not trading you, you have my word on that."

Finally, IMIO, for morality to be invoked someone actually needs to have gotten hurt. Buehrle getting paid 30 million the next two years and going to a team that has a better shot of contending does not qualify as getting hurt to me.


Yeah, and if you cut off one of his fingers, he'd still have 9 left and $30 million, so no harm done!
   47. vivaelpujols Posted: November 21, 2012 at 08:14 PM (#4307785)
In other words, trading Buehrle was certainly in the best interests of the club. 2-3 WAR pitchers making 16 million are not a great asset and the Marlins likely have guys in the minors who could offer close to that level of production.

Trading Reyes is slightly different because he will have a lot of surplus value the next couple of years (although the back end of his contract is pretty bad). And trading Johnson is the real kick to the balls as he's a near ace level pitcher making less than Beuhrel money.

However, I think Yunel is a terrific value (he projects about 1.5 WAR worse than Reyes for 1/3rd of the cost) and they probably couldn't have gotten him without sending Johnson (or eating a bunch of the Reyes/Buehrle contract). Furthermore the prospects they got back have a lot of value as well.
   48. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 21, 2012 at 08:21 PM (#4307788)
Just so we're clear, this conversation only happened in your head, right? For all we know, it was, "Yeah, we can't give you a no trade, that's a company policy thing because of such and such. But don't worry, we're not trading you, you have my word on that."


How is this any different from what I wrote? I wrote "We're not willing to give you no-trade protection." Which is the same as what you posit above. Adding the magic words "because we have a company policy" doesn't actually accomplish any wizardry. Company policies are not handed down by God; they're another way of saying that the company is not willing to give what is being asked for.
   49. vivaelpujols Posted: November 21, 2012 at 08:21 PM (#4307789)
Just so we're clear, this conversation only happened in your head, right? For all we know, it was, "Yeah, we can't give you a no trade, that's a company policy thing because of such and such. But don't worry, we're not trading you, you have my word on that."


This is really dumb. If you offer a no trade clause, that means you're legally obligated not the trade the player. If there is no no trade clause, you reserve the right to trade the player. The "company policy" is that they want to be able to trade the player if they feels it's in the best interests of the club (or Loria's wallet).




   50. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 21, 2012 at 08:24 PM (#4307791)
And: "But don't worry, we're not trading you, you have my word on that." I covered this as well:

"We do want Mark long term."

But it's kind of funny that my speculated phrasing was rejected... fine, but in favor of the speculated phrasing you came up with? How is yours any truer than mine?

   51. Nasty Nate Posted: November 21, 2012 at 08:26 PM (#4307792)
Just so we're clear, this conversation only happened in your head, right? For all we know, it was, "Yeah, we can't give you a no trade, that's a company policy thing because of such and such. But don't worry, we're not trading you, you have my word on that."


We can offer you a 4-year deal, but 5-year deals are against company policy, but we will totally pay you $14 million in 2016, trust us. Think any agent goes for that?

NTCs are tangible, routine things in player contracts, this wasn't them reneging on them promising to use him as a starter, or promising him the opening day start, or some other nebulous thing that isn't normally put into contracts.
   52. Darren Posted: November 21, 2012 at 08:31 PM (#4307793)
Mine's not any truer. The point is that yours is made up and I can make one up that's quite the opposite.


But if this would still be okay under my phrasing, why is your imagined conversation so tilted in the other direction? Because you realize that it's not actually fair to say you'll do one thing and then do the other?
   53. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 21, 2012 at 08:32 PM (#4307794)
Darren, if they gave Buerhle their "word" but not a no-trade, what does that say to you?
   54. vivaelpujols Posted: November 21, 2012 at 08:34 PM (#4307796)
Because you realize that it's not actually fair to say you'll do one thing and then do the other?


Ok we have no idea what the Marlins said. All we know is that they did not offer a no trade clause, which means they were already thinking about a scenario in which they would trade him at the signing of the contract. In fact the Marlins offered Beuhrle more money than any other team because they wanted the ability to trade him.

This seems pretty cut and dry to me.
   55. Darren Posted: November 21, 2012 at 08:35 PM (#4307797)
NTCs are tangible, routine things in player contracts,


Sometimes employers will make verbal promises of promotions or raises based on certain conditions. If they don't come through, they haven't broken any promises but people will rightly think poorly of their behavior.
   56. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: November 21, 2012 at 08:42 PM (#4307800)
Sometimes employers will make verbal promises of promotions or raises based on certain conditions.

Now, what if that employer's contracts were governed by a CBA under which these things could not be verbally promised and had to be written into contracts? Buerhle's not an at-will employee and not hired under a verbal agreement. If the Marlins are expressly forbidden from offering things not included in a contract, how could Buehrle reasonably believe that he was?
   57. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 21, 2012 at 08:43 PM (#4307801)
#55, it's not like he was asking for some obscure thing that is not put into contracts, such as them promising that a chocolate and a cup of hot cocoa be put next to the pillow in his hotel room after each road game. No-trades are commonly put into contracts, and there should be no expectation at all that a player won't be traded if he doesn't have one in his contract. He asked for a no-trade. And was denied. There really is nothing to complain about here, no moral or ethical code broken.
   58. Monty Posted: November 21, 2012 at 09:09 PM (#4307809)
He asked for a no-trade. And was denied.


And then, according to him, team officials made verbal promises they had no intention of keeping.
   59. Nasty Nate Posted: November 21, 2012 at 09:12 PM (#4307810)
Sometimes employers will make verbal promises of promotions or raises based on certain conditions. If they don't come through, they haven't broken any promises but people will rightly think poorly of their behavior.


Just to be clear, I do think poorly of the Marlins if they broke promises to Buehrle. I'm guessing what the Buehrle camp is steamed about was the promises or assurances of the direction the club was headed (i.e. things that could not be written into his contract), and not necessarily some informal no-trade promise. I'd guess they would be similarly upset if the team was dismantled and he, not Stanton, was the only good player left behind.
   60. greenback calls it soccer Posted: November 21, 2012 at 09:27 PM (#4307818)
If Buehrle is that upset about being traded, the guy he should be yelling at is his agent. There's a pretty obvious negotiating strategy here:

"We promise we won't trade your client."
"If you mean that, then putting it in writing is not an issue."

I'm wondering where the conversation went from there. 'Company policy' is a pretty lame response when you're returning a twelve pack of flat cola to Wal Mart. Lame doesn't begin to describe the situation with a $50+ million contract.
   61. SoSH U at work Posted: November 21, 2012 at 09:28 PM (#4307819)
I'm guessing what the Buehrle camp is steamed about was the promises or assurances of the direction the club was headed (i.e. things that could not be written into his contract), and not necessarily some informal no-trade promise. I'd guess they would be similarly upset if the team was dismantled and he, not Stanton, was the only good player left behind.


I agree, and think that's pretty strong justification for being upset about being lied to. The trade part, not so much.

   62. PreservedFish Posted: November 21, 2012 at 09:29 PM (#4307820)
I agree entirely with Matt. But maybe we should stop talking about "moral codes." That phrase is too weighty. Can we just agree that the Marlins are jerks?
   63. Bhaakon Posted: November 21, 2012 at 09:35 PM (#4307824)
Finally, IMIO, for morality to be invoked someone actually needs to have gotten hurt. Buehrle getting paid 30 million the next two years and going to a team that has a better shot of contending does not qualify as getting hurt to me.


Well, the higher income tax rate is going to cost him some money.
   64. Darren Posted: November 21, 2012 at 09:49 PM (#4307828)
Now, what if that employer's contracts were governed by a CBA under which these things could not be verbally promised and had to be written into contracts?

Is the fact that they did something prohibited by the CBA supposed to be a defense of the Marlins?
   65. bobm Posted: November 21, 2012 at 09:51 PM (#4307829)
This scenario wasn't a surprise here at BTF. How can Buehrle, a major league player represented by an agent, actually be surprised?

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Buehrle to sign with Marlins ...

15. Shock Posted: December 07, 2011 at 11:42 PM (#4009687)
So are the MArlins going to trade all these players at the deadline? What exactly is going on here? ...

 19. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 07, 2011 at 11:52 PM (#4009700)
So are the MArlins going to trade all these players at the deadline? What exactly is going on here?

They have a new ballpark. While there's no defense of the extent of Loria's skinflinting previously, the club really did have a terrible lease on their old park that artificially limited revenues. And then they swindled Miami into giving them a few hundred million dollars in taxpayer money that was just lying around. The Marlins should indeed project to make a lot of money next year and probably into the future, so extra spending is reasonable.

   66. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: November 21, 2012 at 10:11 PM (#4307836)
Is the fact that they did something prohibited by the CBA supposed to be a defense of the Marlins?

If Buehrle and Reyes accepted the verbal side agreement, they did something prohibited by the CBA as well. It's not just an ownership thing.

If MLB has good evidence that Loria, Buehrle, and Reyes had illegal side agreements, then the proper response by MLB would be to fine all 3 parties. Buehrle and Reyes aren't aggrieved parties here, if what they say is true, they're essentially disgruntled co-conspirators.
   67. Dudefella Posted: November 21, 2012 at 10:13 PM (#4307838)
I feel like those who are defending the Marlins on the grounds that he Buehrle didn't get a no-trade in his contract are excluding the middle. Yeah, Buehrle knew or should have known that there was a possibility he could get traded. Maybe he even should have known that the Marlins were likely to trade him given their track record. I still think he can be forgiven for being miffed if he was told "we're not going to trade you."

FWIW I'm a lawyer; I still think it's best practice to keep your word even if you're not contractually obliged to do so.
   68. JJ1986 Posted: November 21, 2012 at 10:16 PM (#4307840)
Not only did Buehrle not get a NTC, he basically took the Carlos Delgado deal which (with Delgado) had specifically been given so that they could trade him after one year.
   69. bigglou115 Posted: November 21, 2012 at 10:17 PM (#4307841)
Maybe I'm missing something, but it's not like he's asking to enforce the verbal promise. He's saying he was lied to, and I think he probably was. You can know a lie is coming, be willing to accept the consequences, and still be irritated you were lied to.
   70. kthejoker Posted: November 21, 2012 at 10:17 PM (#4307842)
I think this is more Buehrle publicizing his own take on how Loria and the Marlins do business as a warning to future free agents. If he said nothing about this, people might assume that since he signed with them and their no no-trade clause policy, that he was okay with being traded.

Instead, he's basically saying, "Yeah, I was dumb and believed them - and it backfired." Translation: "Don't be dumb like me."

Also, you know this doesn't sit well with the MLBPA, contract or no. They're going to take the players' point of view into consideration, and they might do something like make no-trades for 10-and-5s (even once they are no longer "5"s) part of the CBA.
   71. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: November 21, 2012 at 10:40 PM (#4307852)
Maybe I'm missing something, but it's not like he's asking to enforce the verbal promise. He's saying he was lied to, and I think he probably was.

If Buehrle and Reyes had secret, verbal understandings with Loria, then all 3 of them violated the terms of the CBA.
If Buehrle and Reyes did not have secret, verbal understandings with Loria, then Buehrle and Reyes have no reason to be mad.

   72. PreservedFish Posted: November 21, 2012 at 10:44 PM (#4307853)
If Buehrle and Reyes did not have secret, verbal understandings with Loria, then Buehrle and Reyes have no reason to be mad.


This is nonsense. And so reductive. The Marlins sold these guys on a vision for the future, one where the team makes a good faith effort to put a competitive baseball team together and is willing to spend a dollar or two. Then they utterly abandoned that vision less than a year later.
   73. Tripon Posted: November 21, 2012 at 10:46 PM (#4307855)
Eh, I think you can still be mad because for some reason (despite all reasons for it to be contrary) you thought Loria and the Marlins to be standup guys who would keep an informal promise.

But yeah, expecting it is a different thing.
   74. bigglou115 Posted: November 21, 2012 at 10:51 PM (#4307860)
If Buehrle and Reyes don't believe they had secret, verbal understandings with Loria, then Buehrle and Reyes have no reason to be mad.


If they believed they had non-enforceable verbal agreements them they do. As far as I can see what Buhrle is saying is that he signed under the understanding that the Marlins wanted him to be a Marlin, he's not saying the Marlins couldn't trade him or that it wasn't their right. What he's saying is that the Marlins behaved in a shady manner, and quite frankly if he doesn't have a right to be unhappy then neither do the Marlins fans. If Buhrle wasn't "duped" then nobody was, because the Marlins had the absolute legal right to do everything they did.
   75. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: November 21, 2012 at 10:55 PM (#4307864)
The Marlins sold these guys on a vision for the future, one where the team makes a good faith effort to put a competitive baseball team together and is willing to spend a dollar or two. Then they utterly abandoned that vision less than a year later.

Which is nice and all, but essentially meaningless. It's like me ######## that Bud Light agreed to make a good faith effort to get me into parties with bikini models and a white terrier wearing sunglasses.

Given that every player has agreed to a Uniform Player's Contract and rules that explicitly state that all arrangements must be made within that contract, no player can have a reasonable expectation to anything more than that. If the Marlins are violating the terms of the revenue sharing agreement, that's between the Marlins, MLB, and the MLBPA.
   76. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: November 21, 2012 at 10:57 PM (#4307866)
hat he's saying is that the Marlins behaved in a shady manner, and quite frankly if he doesn't have a right to be unhappy then neither do the Marlins fans.

Did Marlins fans sign a contract with Jeff Loria that explicitly stated that all agreements would be in writing within a contract?

You can make an argument that, on some level, Marlins fans and the city of Miami had a verbal contract with Jeff Loria for certain things. Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes, however, can not, as they are explicitly forbidden by the terms of the CBA to make verbal agreements involving assignment of their contracts.
   77. PreservedFish Posted: November 21, 2012 at 11:06 PM (#4307867)
DJS ... I just hired a guy, and one of the ways I sold him on the job (which pays below what he might otherwise earn) is that the company is ambitious, it's growing and that he'd have first crack at promotions (and thus substantial pay raises). These chances were not promised to him in writing.

If, in the future, either those promotions do not happen for anyone at all, or I don't consider him for them, I believe that he would be perfectly justified in being pissed off at me. No contract will have been violated, but he might conclude that I was acting in bad faith when I dangled that carrot in front of him.

It's like me ######## that Bud Light agreed to make a good faith effort to get me into parties with bikini models and a white terrier wearing sunglasses.

Sorry, but what the ####? Do you really think that everything the Marlins said to Buehrle amounts to nothing more substantial than the fluffy claims of a television ad?
   78. bigglou115 Posted: November 21, 2012 at 11:07 PM (#4307868)
Did Marlins fans sign a contract with Jeff Loria that explicitly stated that all agreements would be in writing within a contract?


And again, Buhrle isn't making an argument based on K theory. He's making an argument that Miami's business practices are shady. He's not saying he was injured by them, he's not saying anyone owes him anything, he's saying that he had been led to believe things were one way and they turned out to not be that way. Contract law purports only to make parties whole, Bugrle isn't arguing he's been made unwhole so the determined attempt to relegate this discussion to what's legally appropriate falls flat.

To put it another way that will draw the distinction I'm trying to make, K law has is about equity, not morality. Buhrle isn't saying that he has been dealt an inequity through a breach of K or quasi-K. He's saying he was treated immorally, K law has nothing to say on that point.
   79. bigglou115 Posted: November 21, 2012 at 11:26 PM (#4307872)
DJS ... I just hired a guy, and one of the ways I sold him on the job (which pays below what he might otherwise earn) is that the company is ambitious, it's growing and that he'd have first crack at promotions (and thus substantial pay raises). These chances were not promised to him in writing.


But even that might be actionable, I've seen cases where it is. A better analogy (since MLB contracts are fully integrated) is where you already have an employee, you verbally assure him the next promotion is his, then don't give it to him. He has a right to be angry, but there's nothing actionable about it.
   80. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: November 21, 2012 at 11:27 PM (#4307874)
Should Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and Adrian Gonzalez also be upset?

How can anybody be surprised to be traded early in the life of a big-dollar contract with the Marlins?

If you don't want to be traded, demand a no-trade clause, or go somewhere else.

I was recently approached about leaving my current job, which is very safe and stable, for another job which would pay me about 30% more than my current job...but there is a legitimate chance that the funding for the position would be uncertain at the end of each year.

In exchange for high job security, I am sacrificing some compensation. If the Marlins didn't want to give Buehrle a no-trade, they probably had to offer him more money. He can't have it both ways. Boo-friggin'-hoo.
   81. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 21, 2012 at 11:51 PM (#4307889)
He asked for a no-trade. And was denied.

And then, according to him, team officials made verbal promises they had no intention of keeping.


1. He really doesn't know this. Granted it's quite plausible. But that's all it is.

2. You mean "oral" promises, not verbal. Both oral and written contracts are verbal. But, to respond to your point, your point is not valid, because oral promises - or any promise not actually set out in the contract even if written - are specifically prohibited by MLB.

3. He looks even sillier making this argument, because it makes both him and his agent look very dumb. They asked for a no-trade, were denied with ownership making some noise about how "you have our word" - and then they took them at their word, despite the request for a no-trade specifically being denied? That is stupid.

I think it is dishonorable for Buehrle to state that the Marlins didn't "hold up their end," when the Marlins have not breached a single clause of the contract, and, indeed, no side deals are even allowed.
   82. PreservedFish Posted: November 21, 2012 at 11:57 PM (#4307891)
Reposting Nasty Nate's #59:

I'm guessing what the Buehrle camp is steamed about was the promises or assurances of the direction the club was headed (i.e. things that could not be written into his contract), and not necessarily some informal no-trade promise. I'd guess they would be similarly upset if the team was dismantled and he, not Stanton, was the only good player left behind.
   83. Rough Carrigan Posted: November 21, 2012 at 11:58 PM (#4307893)
Is it possible that Buehrle and Reyes thought that by signing backloaded contracts that they were, to some extent, making it harder to trade them if the Marlins should decide they want to?

Those contracts were certainly going to make it tougher to trade them after next season but might have also had the effect of pushing the Marlins to trade them after just one season.
   84. Bob Meta-Meusel Posted: November 22, 2012 at 12:00 AM (#4307895)
GM says to Buehrle and his agent, "Look. I can't give you a no trade clause because Loria won't let me give them to anyone. He's got a strict policy about that and there's nothing I can do there, but I'm not going to trade you, I'm trying to build something here and I can't do that if I sign people and then trade them away. Don't worry, you won't be going anywhere."

That's at least how I envision the conversation going. Should Buehrle have believed something like that... no. Is it understandable that he'd be angry about it... of course it is.
   85. bigglou115 Posted: November 22, 2012 at 12:00 AM (#4307896)
Ok, the way I see it Buhrle is saying that A) he had a K to play baseball for the Marlins B) there was also a unilateral promise without consideration that he would not be traded. B is meaningless legally, obviously. But we make those kinds of promises every day. "I'll pick you up from the airport," "I'll fix your computer." If we fail in those promises does our friend have a right to be angry?

As to his choice of money over security, that's not incorrect. But it's not the whole story. The more I think about it the more I realize the question is about whether Buhrle was justified to put any stock in any non-enforceable agreements he had. My default position is that if someone gives me their word I believe them, but hell I'm 26 what do I know. Maybe the frog should have known better, but I don't know that his anger is invalid.

And for the record, if I had to leave my dog behind I wouldn't care if my anger was rational, I'd still be angry.
   86. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 22, 2012 at 12:04 AM (#4307899)
Is the fact that they did something prohibited by the CBA supposed to be a defense of the Marlins?


Absolutely. It's an equitable defense. The defense is that Buehrle and his agent were also doing something prohibited by the CBA, which means that they have unclean hands, also acting in bad faith with respect to the CBA, so them claiming some moral high ground is completely ridiculous.
   87. bigglou115 Posted: November 22, 2012 at 12:05 AM (#4307900)
I think it is dishonorable for Buehrle to state that the Marlins didn't "hold up their end," when the Marlins have not breached a single clause of the contract, and, indeed, no side deals are even allowed.


But it wasn't a side deal. You have the deal on one hand, and what's basically just a promise on the other.

The fish held up to the K. They didn't keep their promise. They aren't required to by law, just as I wouldn't be required to give you $50 just because I said "Ray, I'm gonna give you $50". But if you believed me when I said that, you'd be angry when I didn't come through.
   88. Vrhovnik Posted: November 22, 2012 at 12:10 AM (#4307903)
If he was lied to, I'll wager he was also run down and don't know why.
   89. bigglou115 Posted: November 22, 2012 at 12:11 AM (#4307904)
Is the fact that they did something prohibited by the CBA supposed to be a defense of the Marlins?


Absolutely. It's an equitable defense. The defense is that Buehrle and his agent were also doing something prohibited by the CBA, which means that they have unclean hands, also acting in bad faith with respect to the CBA, so them claiming some moral high ground is completely ridiculous.


But that assumes that it's a "deal". Buhrle said he received an "assurance" that he wouldn't be traded. That's not the same thing as saying the Marlin's and Buhrle bargained for an exchange of legal detriment's one of which was Buhrle wouldn't be traded. This wasn't a deal and the CBA has nothing to say about it. Buhrle isn't trying to enforce anything, he's saying the Marlins made him a promise they didn't keep. A promise doesn't equal a deal and pretending it does while quoting the "unclean hands doctrine" is silly.
   90. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: November 22, 2012 at 12:11 AM (#4307906)
You have the deal on one hand, and what's basically just a promise on the other.

Except the Marlins and Loria/Buehrle aren't allowed to make any kind of deal or any kind of promise of this nature. Loria didn't eat the last slice of pizza, this was an alleged agreement involving assignment of contract, which is a Big Deal in baseball terms.

But we make those kinds of promises every day. "I'll pick you up from the airport," "I'll fix your computer." If we fail in those promises does our friend have a right to be angry?


Yeah, but you don't make those kinds of promises after signing a contract in which you explicitly are not allowed to make those kind of promises.

   91. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 22, 2012 at 12:13 AM (#4307908)
Sorry, but what the ####? Do you really think that everything the Marlins said to Buehrle amounts to nothing more substantial than the fluffy claims of a television ad?


I do.
   92. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: November 22, 2012 at 12:16 AM (#4307911)
Buhrle said he received an "assurance" that he wouldn't be traded.

Which he explicitly can't. How contract assignment is governed entirely covered with the CBA. None of Loria, Buehrle, or Reyes had any reasonable basis to believe that they could even enter into an agreement, an assurance, a pinky-swear, a handshake, a mutual accord, a treaty, or wink-wink, concerning anything to do with the contract that was not written.
   93. PreservedFish Posted: November 22, 2012 at 12:17 AM (#4307912)
Ray, seriously? OK, your new boss tells you you'll get a corner office, but when you show up for your first day you're in a broom closet instead. You have absolutely no right to be upset?
   94. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: November 22, 2012 at 12:20 AM (#4307914)
Sorry, but what the ####? Do you really think that everything the Marlins said to Buehrle amounts to nothing more substantial than the fluffy claims of a television ad?

Abso-#######-lutely. These aren't kids agreeing to rules on a pickup game of wiffleball. These are experienced adults entering into eight and nine-figure contracts, within an extensive legal framework that governs these contract, a legal framework that has existed for decades and is very familiar to all parties involved.

   95. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 22, 2012 at 12:20 AM (#4307915)
But it wasn't a side deal. You have the deal on one hand, and what's basically just a promise on the other.


Once you agree that the promise was unenforceable, you've lost the argument. Buehrle wanted to have his cake and eat it too: he wanted the higher salary from not having a no-trade, but he also wanted an illegally promised no trade. He is trying to have it both ways, and therefore is being immoral for balking later (as he was immoral for accepting what he knew to be an illegal promise).

If a no-trade was that important to him, he should have told them to go scratch when they didn't offer it.
   96. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: November 22, 2012 at 12:21 AM (#4307916)
Ray, seriously? OK, your new boss tells you you'll get a corner office, but when you show up for your first day you're in a broom closet instead. You have absolutely no right to be upset?

If I had previously agreed, with this boss, to a governing contract that explicitly stated that I may have to work in a broom closet, then yes, I would have absolutely no right to be upset.
   97. PreservedFish Posted: November 22, 2012 at 12:24 AM (#4307917)
#96 - I disagree. That boss is a jerk.
   98. Tripon Posted: November 22, 2012 at 12:33 AM (#4307918)
I just like to note that oral agreements are a valid form of a contract. Of course proving it is another matter.
   99. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 22, 2012 at 12:37 AM (#4307919)
I just like to note that oral agreements are a valid form of a contract. Of course proving it is another matter.


Sure, unless they are specifically prohibited, as is the case with some types of contracts in some jurisdictions (e.g., when real property is being transferred), or as is the case when a written contract specifically states that the contract represents the entire agreement between the parties.

Or as is the case here.

   100. bigglou115 Posted: November 22, 2012 at 12:40 AM (#4307922)
Buhrle said he received an "assurance" that he wouldn't be traded.

Which he explicitly can't. How contract assignment is governed entirely covered with the CBA. None of Loria, Buehrle, or Reyes had any reasonable basis to believe that they could even enter into an agreement, an assurance, a pinky-swear, a handshake, a mutual accord, a treaty, or wink-wink, concerning anything to do with the contract that was not written.


No, there's a distinction. Nobody is trying to enforce anything here. Buhrle isn't saying the Marlins couldn't trade him because of the promise. The CBA prohibits the parties from attempting to legally bind each other outside the contracts, that's not what Buhrle is alleging happened here.

Edit: what I'm saying is that the legal argument is moot here. It just isn't a legal question. Nobody thought the Marlins were bound by their promise to Buhrle, Buhrle's point is just that he feels ethically betrayed because he was lead to believe a falsehood.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, this isn't a matter of what's legally appropriate. The Marlins held themselves out to Buhrle as an entity with a set of beliefs, when Buhrle saw those beliefs to be untrue he was irritated. That's all that's going on here. He may or may not be justified, I think there's merit to the idea he should have seen it coming. But I don't fall on that side if the fence just because humans are by nature trusting.
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